Skip to content

Will working with agility be the new norm now?

Added to your CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD
Only APM members have access to CPD features Become a member Already added to CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD
Added to your Saved Content Go to my Saved Content

‘Hyper agile’, ‘new agile’, ‘future agile’, ‘agile & flexible’ join the ‘agile’ buzzword culture throughout our organisations and daily life.

But what do we really mean by ‘being more agile’ post the aftermath of COVID-19? What uncertainty will our organisations, global economy and our sociology need to inspect and adapt to in the future? And how will this be met through industry projects?

The only real known is that we will need to respond to change.

Since the 20 March whatever plans we had made changed immediately.

Gym workouts → Online classes
Nipping to the shops → Planned food shopping with social distancing
School drop → Homeschooling
Buying as a household → Buying for others

To keep the society going we’ve all had to adapt in the way we live and work.

‘Agile’ is about responding to change, working together as a team, communicating, and gaining feedback on products faster to enable return on investment sooner. It’s part of the core values:

Individuals and interactions OVER processes and tools
Working software OVER comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration OVER contract negotiation
Responding to change OVER following a plan

These values often get misinterpreted so without digging deeper let me just highlight the key word here ‘over’. These values are so important for life after COVID-19 as our ways of working will, just as they have already, value more that of the left over that of the right. This does not mean in any such way that the processes and tools, documentation, contracts, and following a plan become obsolete.

I have three questions for your honest reflection:
1. Have you always delivered a project; on time, on budget, meeting quality?
2. Have you ever slipped on even one of these?
3. Have changes in design, legislation or milestones become blockers to the next phase?

Well this is where the values of the Agile Manifesto come in. I often reflect on how organisations respond in a crisis, and unsurprisingly suddenly decisions are made, products are released, waste (time) is reduced and people gain a little more autonomy over their workload.

Agile is a journey. And a lightweight process. It’s designed to respond to change quickly, reduce stale and outdated documentation, release products often and give people the ability to make decisions, work cross functionally and be a collective in decision making, which in turn reduces bottlenecks.

Our post COVID-19world is unknown, with the economic dip, careers in jeopardy and physical interactions at a minimum we need to adapt as we do in a crisis.

We have already proved in this time of uncertainty that organisational changes are rife, car manufacturers almost overnight became ventilator manufacturers, designing and testing within weeks, legislation being met and shipment made.

Now we know our organisations, teams and individuals can shift their mindset to become more flexible through a crisis. Let's use this new learning, knowledge, autonomy and intelligence in developing our business strategy for the future, perhaps it will look something like this?

Working collaboratively as one AS WE HAVE within our households
Empowering teams to support each other AS WE HAVE with our neighbours
Removing waste from our documentation AS WE HAVE in a crisis
Allowing adaptation for change AS WE HAVE in our sociology

Will working with agility be the new norm now?

You can find out more about working with agility by signing up for free to APM's Power of Projects Takeover, the virtual event taking place from June 1-12. #powerofprojects

You may also be interested in


Image: Michail Petrov/Shutterstock


Join the conversation!

Log in to post a comment, or create an account if you don't have one already.

  1. Adrian Pyne
    Adrian Pyne 22 July 2020, 02:28 PM

    For clarity, the Agile Manifesto and methods that arose from it, e.g. Scrum, SAFe etc. were and still ARE designed for software development and that is ALL. The Agile Manifesto's principles and values can of course be adapted to the project management profession.......where they become slightly different. Quoting working software etc. as a core Agile value is quite correct, but that is agile software development, which might not even be delivered via a project. Am I being pedantic....NO. Confusing Scrum etc. as project management is a pervasive and incredibly expensive mistake. When talking about Agile we simply MUST be clear what constitutes Agile project management. If not, APM will be condemned as incompetent in this area.

  2. Helen Garcia
    Helen Garcia 05 October 2020, 08:43 AM

    Thanks for your comment Adrian and we have spoken extensively about this at the Agile research steering group. There are a number of misconceptions about Agile. For example the points that you have bought up. It's important to be clear though that scrum is a framework that can be applied to a number of different types of industries and projects. It is certainly not just for software development. All other points we have already discussed so I won't touch on them here. There should not be any mistake that Agile is and incremental and iterative approach to delivering projects. There are many options out there that are named hybrid approaches, of which I have not experienced or heard of successful delivery using this approach. Linear vs incremental and iterative, are chalk and cheese. Thanks for your comments, we all have different views and approaches to understanding. What I would totally agree on is that Agile needs to be understood properly.